The EB-5 visa or the Fifth Priority Workers visa is for those who create jobs and employment positions in the U.S and invest in the U.S economy. It is very different from the other types of visas because it does not require a U.S employer to petition for the foreign immigrant.
The EB-5 visa allows a foreign citizen to obtain a U.S Green Card through investing and creating jobs in the U.S economy. The investment must be between $500,000 and $1 million and create at least 10 jobs for U.S citizens or foreign immigrants. It makes a distinction between the general U.S economy and target areas which are rural places where there is high unemployment in the U.S
Based on these target areas, there are different types of EB-5 visas, such as:
- C-5 visa for investors who create jobs outside of target areas
- T-5 visa for investors who create jobs in targeted rural or high unemployment areas
- R-5 visa for investors who participate in an Investor Pilot Program not in a target area
- I-5 visa for investors who participate in an Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area
This article will go through the C-5 visa, what it is, its requirements, how to apply, and other relevant details.
What is the C-5 visa?
The C-5 visa is part of the EB-5 investor visas. It allows an investor who has met several conditions to live and work in the U.S. If the person invests $1 million in the U.S economy and increases employment in the company that has received the investment, then they can get a Green Card.
The C-5 visa allows the person to stay in the U.S and after a period of time also apply for naturalization and receive a U.S citizenship. The person must comply with all U.S laws and regulations as well as pay the necessary taxes. The person may also travel in and out of the U.S for short periods of time and visits to other countries.
The EB-5 investor visas are limited to 10,000 visas per year, so it is quite difficult to get a C-5 visa even if you fulfill all the requirements. That is because the visas are processed in chronological order, meaning based on the time that the application was received. If the quota for one year has been filled, then the applicant is placed on a waiting list until their turn comes to be processed.
What are the requirements for the C-5 visa?
To qualify for the C-5 visa there are several requirements that an applicant needs to fulfill.
The first requirement is that the C-5 visa investor must invest outside target areas. Target areas are places within the U.S which have high unemployment and poverty. So the C-5 investor must make a general investment in an area with a normal unemployment level.
The second requirement is that the C-5 visa investor must invest in a new commercial enterprise established on or before Nov 29th, 1990. This investment can be in the form of buying the business and restructuring it into a new commercial enterprise or by investing to expand an existing business and increasing either its number of employees or its net worth by 40%.
The third requirement is to increase employment in the company by 10 people in the next 2 years. These jobs must be permanent and full time. The employment can be direct, meaning that the job increase is within the company where the investment has been made. The employment can also be indirect, meaning that the increase in jobs was a result of the investment, but that the jobs are in another company. If the C-5 investor puts their investment in a business that is close to bankruptcy, then the requirement is to be able to maintain the existing jobs in that company.
The fourth and final requirement is for the amount of money that needs to be invested. For the C-5 investment, since it is outside a target area, a minimum of $1 million needs to be invested. The money must be the investor’s personal asset and must not be borrowed.
How to apply for a C-5 visa?
If you as the applicant fulfill all the criteria for the C-5 visa, then you can start applying. The application procedure for the C-5 visa is divided into two parts:
- Getting an approved petition from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Applying for the C-5 immigrant visa
Filing the petition
Before you are allowed to apply for the C-5 visa, you must first confirm your eligibility with the U.S authorities. The organization in charge for this type of visa is USCIS. To comply with this requirement, you must file a petition by sending Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
Different from the other types of employment visas, you can file the petition yourself and do not need a U.S employer to do that. When USCIS gets the petition, they will review it and inform you whether you have been approved or denied. If your petition is approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) who will be responsible for your application from that point onwards.
The NVC will assign a case number and invoice ID number to you and send you a package with instructions and forms about how to apply. The package will only be sent to you when your priority date becomes current and you are allowed to apply. If your priority date is not current, you will have to wait and then apply.
Apply for the C-5 visa
When your priority date is current and you receive the instructions from NVC, you can then apply for the C-5 visa at the U.S Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. You must follow these steps:
- Apply online by submitting Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application. The form serves as your application and you can access it through your case number. When you are done, you will get a confirmation page and code which you will later send to the NVC.
- Complete a medical examination and get the necessary vaccines which are outlined in your instructions from the NVC. Your medical examination documents must be signed by a licensed doctor.
- Compile your supporting documents and send them to the NVC. Your file must include:
- Your passport which must be valid for more than 6 months after your intended departure to the U.S
- Your investment plans
- Your bank statements proving you have the necessary amounts of money
- The approved petition
- Your DS-260 confirmation page
- Your signed medical and vaccine documents
- Two photographs meeting the requirements for a USA visa photograph
- Academic achievements (diplomas and certificates)
- Your CV or resume
- Court and criminal records
- Depending on the case, the NVC might require other supporting documents, so you must follow their instructions carefully.
- Attend the visa interview which is scheduled by the NVC at your U.S Embassy after they have reviewed your supporting documents.
- Receive your immigration package and travel to the U.S. The NVC will send you this package after your visa has been approved and you must not open it. You must travel with it to the U.S and an immigration official at the U.S port of entry will open it and determine whether you are allowed to enter the country.
What are the C-5 visa fees?
There are many fees which you are responsible for paying while you apply for the C-5 visa. The amounts vary and are decided by USCIS and the U.S Embassy in the country you are applying from. In general, you will have to pay the following fees:
- USCIS Form I-526 petition filing fee
- Form DS-260 processing fee
- Medical examination fees
- Fees to obtain supporting documents
- Any translation fees from foreign language to English
Your application will not be processed if you do not pay the fees before the deadlines specified by USCIS, NVC, and the U.S Embassy where you are applying in.
How long is the C-5 visa processing time?
Since the investor visas have a cap on the number of visas issued each year, the C-5 visa processing time can be quite long. The average processing times for the C-5 visa can vary and range from a few months to a few years.
This time frame depends on when you submitted it to USCIS as well as how many applications were before you. If there are not many applications before yours, then your turn will come much faster and you will get the visa in no time.
How to become a Lawful Permanent Resident after getting the C-5 visa?
The next step after you have gotten your C-5 visa is to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S. This is usually known as getting the Green Card. To change your status from your immigrant visa to an LPR, you must first have an approved petition from USCIS and the visa, as well as live in the U.S.
Afterwards, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. This form will be processed and if approved you will get your Green Card in the mail after a few weeks.
Can I bring my family with a C-5 visa?
After you have been approved for the C-5 visa, you can also have your family join you in the U.S. The U.S authorities recognize family as your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old. They must apply each for the derivative visas and will be allowed to join you after processing.
With the C-5 visa your children can live and go to school in the U.S, while your spouse can apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and be allowed to work in the U.S. The spouse can choose to work with you in your commercial enterprise or investment or find a different job.